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Oral History of Laurie Cohen

@ Mill Valley Public Library


In this oral history, Laurie Cohen, musician and founding director of the Mill Valley Philharmonic, recounts a life full of personal accomplishments and contributions to the community. Born in San Francisco in 1947, Laurie grew up with six siblings in a progressive household that was always full of artists and social activists. Laurie attended private schools in San Francisco before going to Sarah Lawrence College in New York. In college she became active in the antiwar and feminist movements and focused her studies on visual art and animation. Laurie describes how after college she and some friends started a rural commune in Vermont where she ended up living for seven years, learning to farm and do carpentry and beginning to play the cello. Laurie recounts how her lifelong love of music took her to Berklee College of Music in Boston where she studied jazz. After that, around 1976, she moved back to the Bay Area with her then husband, settling in the house in Mill Valley where she has lived ever since. In 1979 Laurie had her son Miles, and soon after went to graduate school at Dominican College to become a therapist. After 20 years in private practice, Laurie decided to switch careers to music education, but in the process of taking classes at San Francisco State University she discovered a love of orchestra conducting and concert programming. This led her to found the Mill Valley Philharmonic. At the time this interview was recorded, Laurie had been running the...
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Mill Valley Public Library

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California Digital Library